High Fructose Corn Syrup
High fructose corn syrup is a cheap sweetener added to sodas and fruit drinks, store-bought salad dressings, some cereals and other processed snacks.
Excessive consumption of calorie-rich soda containing high fructose corn syrup is a major contributor to the obesity epidemic in the U.S., as reported by a 2004 study published in the American Journal of Nutrition that studied Americans’ food consumption patterns from 1967 to 2000.
High fructose corn syrup also raises the risk of metabolic syndrome, according to a 2010 study published in Current Hypertension Reports.
Metabolic syndrome is a group of conditions occurring together. These include a high blood sugar level, high triglyceride (cell fat) level, high blood pressure, excess abdominal fat and abnormal cholesterol level.
Metabolic syndrome and obesity significantly increase the risk of coronary heart disease, heart attacks, strokes and Type 2 diabetes.
Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
Monosodium glutamate, also known as MSG, is a taste-enhancing additive widely used in Asian cuisine. It is also found in canned and frozen foods, store-bought salad dressings, soups and children’s snacks.
MSG is the manufactured version of the naturally occurring protein glutamic acid.
While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration labeled MSG safe for use, a polarizing debate still rages on its harmful effects.
Anecdotal evidence has poured in since the 1960s stating that people who regularly ate MSG-rich Asian food reported headaches, chest pain, numbness around the mouth and neck, flushing and sweating. This eventually came to be known as the Chinese Restaurant Syndrome.
Families in rural Thailand who ate meals with MSG as a primary ingredient for 10 days were found to be at a significantly increased risk of metabolic syndrome and weight gain.
Artificial Coloring (Dyes)
Artificial coloring is commonly found in candies, desserts, ice cream, sports drinks, spreads, condiments, processed snacks (cereals, pastas, noodles) and other foods.
Tartrazine is a yellow dye found in soft drinks, gummy bears and several other products. Prolonged consumption of tartrazine could cause cancer, according to a 2015 study published in Anticancer Research. It also exacerbates asthma symptoms.
Blue food dyes are found in ice cream, bottled blue drinks, raspberry-flavored products, icings and ice pops. The food dye FD&C Blue No. 1 inhibits the membrane channel protein PANX 1, according to a 2013 study published in the Journal of General Physiology. This triggers the progression of skin cancer.
Other food dyes, such as red dyes (2 & 3) and green dye, have also been associated with tumors and hyperactivity in children
Potassium bromate is the food additive that makes your bread rise.
It is still widely used in the U.S., although animal studies that showed potassium bromate’s carcinogenic effects led to bans in a number of countries including those in the European Union, Argentina, Nigeria, Brazil, Canada, South Korea and Peru.
Although studies in humans are lacking, the International Agency for Research in Cancer lists potassium bromate as “possibly carcinogenic to humans” based on studies done on rats that found a positive link between oral administration of potassium bromate and thyroid, renal and kidney cancers.
It may also cause toxicity of the kidneys in humans, according to a 1990 study published in Environmental Health Perspectives.